Fire near Yosemite park hurts tourist business

Wednesday, July 30th 2008, 10:50 am
By: News 9

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Haze from a massive wildfire near Yosemite National Park is leaving one of California's most popular destinations shrouded in smoke at the height of the tourist season. But park rangers expect the fire will keep very few people away.

At summer's peak, as many as 4,000 visitors a day stream into the park.

But this time, those seeking to photograph the famed peaks instead are taking shots of monoliths obscured by flying ash blowing in from the fire burning just 12 miles outside the park.

Hotels, stores and most restaurants in the park are open, but are operating on generators. The transmission line that feeds power to Yosemite was destroyed in the fire.

Authorities say the blaze, which is 15 percent contained, has charred more than 46 square miles of steep, rugged terrain and destroyed 25 homes since a target shooter sparked the wildfire on Friday.